Downtown Bettendorf experienced a period of limited growth for many years due to the impending construction of the new Interstate 74 bridge. At first, it was anticipated the bridge construction could take as long as 10 years and the threat of eminent domain discouraged investment in our urban core. Who would want to run a business in a construction zone?
Fast forward five years and we see that the bridge construction that once had hindered progress in our downtown is now fostering economic development. The bridge is a modern marvel. Roads were realigned and new development is being driven to downtown Bettendorf because of the bridge. TBK Bank built a new home office and The Bridges lofts has attracted new residents, including young professionals, who now proudly call our downtown “home.”
The new I-74 bridge symbolizes more than progress; it is an opportunity to amplify the quality of life of residents and the success of our downtown.
With four lanes in each direction and a recreation path, anyone who wants to cross the new span into downtown Bettendorf can do so in a very safe, and quick, manner. Bridge delays are a thing of the past, which will encourage businesses to locate in our downtown without having to consider if and how their suppliers can cross the bridge. It will encourage entrepreneurs to fill our downtown storefronts and open restaurants knowing they will have a much larger bi-state customer base. It will encourage workers, employees and professionals to accept their dream job in Bettendorf.
It is what spurred TBK Bank to relocate its Midwest division headquarters to Grant Street, just east of the new bridge, this past summer.
“We saw the new development in downtown Bettendorf and how it was transforming into a destination corridor in the Quad Cities. We wanted to be there,” said John DeDoncker, TBK Bank Midwest Division President. “And now, the ability to get from Moline to downtown Bettendorf in three minutes is a reality. If you look at all the new development in our downtown, it really is being regentrified and is an exciting place to be.”
Bridge delays are a thing of the past and more development on the west side of the downtown is coming. “Businesses know if they locate here, they can easily serve Iowa and Illinois customers,” said Ryan Jantzi, Executive Director of the Downtown Bettendorf Organization. “And next spring, the City will begin construction of an urban park that will traverse from the Mississippi River to McManus Park and the neighborhoods to the north of downtown. This park will be the epicenter of our downtown and draw Quad Citizens and visitors. Safety, beautification and walkability are valuable assets in creating a downtown where people want to live, work, visit and play.”